Thoughts on Oshiete! Galko-chan


It’s not often that an anime (or anime short in this case) talks so frankly about the female body. Whatever the reason, anime tends to focus more on women’s bodies for the sake of sexual stimulation and humor rather than talking about it matter-of-factly. While Oshiete! Galko-chan isn’t above juvenile sexual humor like flashing skin whenever possible or having characters get red in the face whenever sex is brought up, one of the things that differentiate the show from others is that it’s willing to talk about it in general. The earlier episodes even provide facts and “urban myths” about the female body and why things are the way they are. They don’t provide any citations to these facts—this isn’t an educational show—but it works in the sense that teenage girls are open and willing to talk to one another about their everyday struggles, while the boys gossip in the corner about more devious things.

You have no idea how refreshing it is for me to see a show talk so extensively about tampons and periods and body hair that most anime would shy away from in order to subdue a target demographic. Although, the talk of periods and tampons especially seems a little overdone. Almost like that’s the only thing teenage girls all have in common. In any case, the openness about subjects normally taboo is a stark strength for Galko-chan, even if the show’s runtime leaves a little more to be desired.

Progressiveness aside, Galko-chan is a strange mix of slice-of-life and comedy, though the comedy is usually in doses around the “story” of the particular scene being shown. Galko-chan also has a tendency to tackle the use of labels and stereotypes associated with physical appearances. High school is a delicate age for kids, and it’s hard for them not to judge a big-breasted, blonde-haired woman with tons of make-up who’s always late for class. In their eyes, she’s a no-class “bitch,” while the anime makes it the complete opposite for the sake of humor and intrigue. While this theme is only touched upon in brief moments, it’s enough for me to believe that the show was willing to provide depth to the characters and create a realistic environment worthy of social commentary. If only it had more time to do so. In essence, the potential of lessons underneath the surface are apparent (in my eyes), but are ultimately lost trying to establish a number of characters and their situations. There’s even a fat girl in this anime. How’s that for progressive?

I had put progressiveness aside and decided to bring it back up again near the end. I need to learn some self-control.


As I previously noted, Galko-chan has a vast array of characters inhabiting its seven-minute chambers. Not all of them are particularly important, but the three main characters are Galko, Otako, and Ojou—none of which are referred to by their real names. For the most part, these three blend together well enough to bring some spice to an otherwise bland scenario. Galko is a voluptuously-built woman whose purity is known to no one but her closest friends. This purity and the misunderstanding of her appearance compared to said purity is the main focus of comedy within the show. Otako is an expressionless, unflattering character who pokes fun at Galko’s purity by constantly bringing up things of a sexual nature in order to mess with her. Aside from this, Otako is a constant in Galko’s life and is subject to a few emotional scenes when push comes to shove (with varying effectiveness). Ojou is the third-wheel within the group, constantly being subject to Galko and Otako’s commentary while also serving as comic relief due to her “air-headedness.” Despite her distance among the group, her development as a trusted member of the “clique” transitions smoothly throughout the series, giving her her own spotlight that makes her a semi-charming presence. Frankly though, she’s basically just an air-head who wants to be a part of Galko’s clique.

The rest of the roster includes a few male characters who are part of their own clique that ponder upon the sexual urges most male teens have. A girl who’s supposedly part of a rock band. A fat girl who doesn’t become relevant until near the end of the series. And a number of other characters who appear for one scene and then crawl back to the wall of obscurity where they belong, never to speak a line again. Their primary focus is to make Galko look good, or help break the stereotypes placed upon her by her outward behavior. Otherwise, the minor characters don’t have a lot to say in their own regard, aside from occasionally moving the plot forward. I sense Galko-chan wants to create an atmosphere of camaraderie within the class, but with as little time as they have and the primary focus of most episodes being on the comedy, it doesn’t work out too well. Only the main cast is given enough focus to deepen the bond of friendship.

The comedy is pretty hit-and-miss, depending on the viewers’ preferences. Most rely on breaking expectations and the funny faces made by characters when faced with sexual conversations or misunderstandings. It’s a very juvenile style of comedy, laced with some intrigue with the openness of female anatomy, that blends well with the setting of the anime, but offers nothing more to those wanting more. I found myself smirking every so often with Otako playing with Galko (not because she’s my fetish or anything), otherwise it doesn’t have that relatability that I would have with teenage girls because I am, in fact, a male. Perhaps women would be more acquainted with the humor of the show.


The animation is steady for the most part with the occasional fritz every so often. I recall a few scenes within the first and second episode that had Galko walking robotically or a character’s face looking smeared in. Otherwise, I think Galko-chan is a pretty-looking show with a lot of emphasis on gussying up the characters based on their stereotypes. Galko herself is bouncy, big, and beautiful, with lots of make-up and vivid colors peruding her body. Contrarily, Otako has short, scruffy hair; plain clothing, and nothing of the sort in make-up or filters. A distinct case of polar opposites attracting, which the anime takes note of in every episode. Ojou is all smiles, with every cliché feature of a high-class, traditional Japanese teenager: long, black hair; neat clothing, no make-up, and bright white skin. The anime does well in caricaturing the characters in a way that suits their personality along with the way they’re perceived. In terms of overall animation, aside from the few bumps, it’s a very clean and polished anime. It looks like an actual series, compressed in smaller bites. Very impressive for an anime short.

A lot of people would immediately point to Senyuu as a quality anime short. For parody junkies, maybe, but I’m more inclined to put this up there along with Danna ga Nani. It has enough visual sparkle to be appealing beforehand while the openness of the sexual topics and the chemistry between the main cast keeps them along for the ride. I would only suggest that one not look for something extraordinary in a series like this. It’s a bunch of teenagers gossiping about one another and sexual myths. It won’t immerse you with great writing or character depth, but for what it is, it’s a series worth wasting your time on.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Zootopia Review

zootopia 4

There seems to be a collective trend among professional critics who have reviewed this movie: the message justifies the means. The bulk of Zootopia‘s content may be standard, may be predictable, but the harshness of the themes presented and the underlying liberal mantra makes the movie something to be seen. It’s clever in its presentation and conservative enough not to make it overbearing. Not to mention, the visuals are bright, crisp, and colorful enough to entertain an audience of all ages. I can describe this type of mindset with one word: simple.

So a movie has a powerful message. So a movie has a message that strikes deep within the hearts of the issues with the mainstream media and their prejudices towards others. So a movie has heart and emphasizes tolerance and harmony. Does that really give it free reign to play out in such a predictable manner that it’s hard to distinguish it from any other Disney movie?

It’s disappointing to me that all of these critics are so keen on praising the movie for having a positive moral message rather than the movie’s technical abilities. Not all stories with a good message should constitute as “good,” and they don’t. Zootopia as a story is just as cliché and by-the-book as any other major Disney picture; almost to the same degree as Pixar films. It’s predictable and it becomes a drag to see a film take so few risks with its storytelling that it’s content with taking the same formula it’s used in most other movies, but with a different setting.

zootopia 1

The story stars Judy Hopps, a rabbit who dreams of being a police officer in the land of Zootopia. Unfortunately for her, being a police officer is typically reserved for “predators,” rather than prey such as rabbits. It follows her journey as a child (quickly) and her major motivations as she grows into an adult capable of fending for herself and how she struggles with, ahem, prejudice with her “prey” persona among the police force. Soon enough, she’s (by matter of coincidence) assigned her first task, and enlists the help of a wily fox named Nick Wilde to help her.

My brief synopsis leaves much to behold, but please don’t let my attempt at avoiding as many spoilers as possible deter you from my bland outline. There’s a lot more complexity to the story and how characters come to meet than I let on. This is one of the strengths I feel the movie has, which is the cleverness in which they take with the “predator vs. prey” angle. For as divided as some people can take this prospect, I think the movie did a well enough job to manipulate this concept to steer itself in a direction that suited its cause. I think it was also used well enough for other aspects such as humor, dialogue, and character development. In a sense, the message really does a lot of good for the movie technically, even if on a subjective level I don’t think it should hold much merit.

Allow me to be a tad more descriptive with the story progression. This may be a little on the spoiler-ish side, so I may recommend you skip the next paragraph in case you want to see it for yourself.

zootopia 2

Tell me if this sounds familiar: a story begins with a character’s past, showing the point of the movie and the motivation behind that or any other important character. It flashes forward and the character focused on in the past is now older and eager to explore and/or partake in their passion, only to discover that things aren’t all that they’re wrapped up to be. Along the way, they meet up with someone they don’t much care for, only to have that character, whether intentionally or not, become the sidekick to their grand adventure. The journey itself is one of info collecting and some action scenes filled with suspense and tension, and it “ends” with success, but at the cost of creating conflict with their sidekick, whom they grew to care for along the journey. At their lowest point, the main character goes through a period of self-reflection and self-loathing, only to have a sudden realization cause them to jump into action to finish up what they started with their journey. They make up with their former partner and the final scenes play out and the main antagonist is revealed and they defeat them and everything is hunky-dory.

That kinda sounds like… every modern Disney movie ever, doesn’t it?

It’s this type of storytelling that leads me to feel like this film won’t hold up in my memory. The characters and visuals will, sure, but the story itself will continue to be muddled along with the likes of Tangled, Frozen, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and many others. It’s very pedestrian, it’s very standard, it’s very forgettable. This type of story is so bland that I can’t stand to even consider this film great simply from the story alone. It’s unfortunate because these types of stories work, certainly, but they’ve become so overused and oversaturated that I can’t help but feel film writers, particularly for Disney, have become lazy in the way they tell stories. This in of itself is Zootopia‘s greatest flaw, but in essence, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Other than its predictability, I also found a humongous plothole near the end of the movie when Judy has her realization. I won’t go into it for spoiler reasons, but I think it does a good job of showing how out of touch the story becomes by the end of the movie. The story, aside from its predictable structure, begins to fade into itself by the end of the movie. The resolution is incredibly far-fetched and it feels far too rushed to show anything other than “They won. The end.”

zootopia 3

The rainbow-like assortment of characters is just that: bright and varied. Unfortunately, not a lot have a good assortment of growth to them, with the only exception being Nick Wilde. The characters play their role: the main character, the sidekick, the comic relief, the scapegoat, the reference, the pop-star tie-in, etc. Many characters are basically the same from beginning to end, except the “happy ending” that makes everyone giddy and skippy and whatever. I just realized that sentence sounds really weird. Nevertheless, characters serve the message and are what they are. There’s not much more to them than that.

The animation is nothing to go on about, seeing as the trailer already does it justice. If Zootopia has one great strength aside from its clever (albeit predictably reversing) wit, it’s the animation. Disney is predictably savvy in its work with art and animation. Everyone looks great. Every movement looks fluid and realistic. The world is breath-taking and the action scenes are well sculpted. It’s everyone’s favorite treat and more; an absolute spectacle of design and animation. I just kinda wish there were more animals to behold, as it was basically limited to mammals. Makes the world feel a little smaller, y’know?

It’s a good movie, absolutely. But it’s not great. It’s hampered down by its predictability and its safe progression of story and “development.” The characters are role-fillers and the actual story has some holes to fill. But the message is enough to hold people over (and it shows by its ratings) and does enough with it to make the characters likable and the writing clever and sweet, and surprisingly funny. The animation is fantastic, as per usual. It just needs a little polish, a little more variety with the way its story progresses and maybe cool it with the whole “Haha, you expected one thing but we showed you the opposite! We are so smart!” For kids, this movie is absolutely recommendable. For adults, it really depends on the mindset. Most will appreciate its sentiments, but for someone looking for good structure and support, the movie will leave without paying the bill.

Final Score: 6/10